Friday, May 13, 2011

High-speed rail: pork for the Bay Area from the Democratic Party



...Up to this point, the LAO[Legislative Analyst's Office] finds this has been spent:

To date, HSRA has secured roughly $3.6 billion in federal funding for development of the project. Of that, roughly $3 billion is dedicated to the construction of the system; $400 million was given to the developers of the San Francisco Transbay Transit Center, one of the planned high-speed rail stations; and nearly $200 million will be used by HSRA for project-wide preliminary engineering and environmental clearance work.

So, basically, the only part that will be built is the pork for the Bay Area. That’s the home base of California’s four most powerful politicians: Gov. Jerry Brown (former Oakland mayor), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (formerly House Speaker) of San Francisco and U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both of Marin County. Once again, the Bay Area, California’s wealthiest, gets massive pork with the rest of California---and America---paying for it.

A Train Going Nowhere
There’s much more in the LAO’s report, which is worth reading in full at only 28 pages. But the above suffices to show that this is a train that never will be built.

After all, how will the Legislature get the $1 billion (at least) per year in finance costs---and hundreds of millions of dollars in operating costs? Will it raise taxes? Or will it cut funding for education, police, fire, welfare, etc?

In the past two years, everybody in this state, including liberal Democrats, has realized that there are limits to what the state can spend. That’s why it was the liberal Democrats in the Legislature who voted for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cancel all the state’s redevelopment boondoggles, saving $1.7 billion. Those Democrats liked that redevelopment spending and programs, but chose to give priority to other programs.

Unfortunately, Republicans in the Legislature so far have refused to end redevelopment, hypocritically calling for less spending while protecting this local pork. (Only the courageous Assemblyman Chris Norby of Fullerton voted to end redevelopment.)

But the point is that the high-speed rail project is even a bigger boondoggle than redevelopment. And it hardly has been started yet.

So what will happen is that some more hundreds of millions will dribble out for studies and staff salaries, and for Bay Area pork.

But nothing else will be done. In a couple of years, the whole train wreck of a project will be cancelled (emphasis added).

Thanks again to High-Speed Rail Talk for the link.

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8 Comments:

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://burritojustice.com/2011/05/24/do-not-fail-high-speed-rail/

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Gorgeous" diagrams are about all CHSR has going for it. You and Burrito brain need to educate yourselves by reading this study for openers.

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Burrito Brain" - all you have going for you is ad hominem attacks, because that is much simpler than actually reading the article and making "intelligent" comments.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Exactly wrong. I provided a link to the most important document that critics of CHSR have written to date. You and BB should read it before you comment on the subject again.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Providing a link is not "reading the article and analyzing it". Lazy old bastard.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I've read it and incorporated its analysis into other posts, like this one. And I posted the executive summary of the report here. You and BB are the ones who haven't done your homework. Click on "High-Speed Rail" at the bottom of this post for more posts on high-speed rail.

Here's another report by the same authors.

And another.

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 reports from one author rehashing the same data - is ONE REPORT. And if the data is fabricated - it's ONE ERRONEOUS REPORT. If the data is fabricated to serve an agenda, it's ONE ERRONEOUS CORRUPT REPORT. And that's what you are linking to.

Read Burrito Justice's post and tell us where he is wrong....

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Burrito Justice does nothing but cut and paste some graphics from the CHSR website.

"Fabricated" data? Look at the CHSRA's own business plan, where the same numbers appear:

$9 billion Proposition 1A bonds
Federal funding: $17‐19 billion
Local funding: $4‐5 billion
Private funding: $10‐12 billion
Total: $45 billion

The $9 billion in state bonds are still unsold, because they are unmarketable without a guarantee of a return by the state, which is prohibited by Prop. 1A.

No one can still believe that the Feds are going to give California $19 billion to build the system.

Cities and counties in the state are all in the red and won't be able to chip in $5 billion.

No private investors since 2008 because of the aforementioned lack of a return guarantee. The system was sold to voters as self-supporting. And the project was sold on the basis of inflated future ridership numbers.

There's the State Auditor's report last year.

And the recent Legislative Analyst's report.

The folks at New Geography are good on HSR.

Ken Orski is good on High-Speed Rail Talk.

It's all about the money for politicians. There's no money to build this rail system. Of course these Republicans enjoyed sticking it to the Obama administration, but the governors of Wisconsin and Florida understood that, if they accepted federal money to build HSR systems, the taxpayers in their states would be obligated for the inevitable construction cost overruns and to pay to operate the systems after they were built!

Neither you nor Burrito Justice have done any homework on this issue. Do some reading and report back here.

 

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